Genre for Max Martin-written songs?
February 6, 2011 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Is there a name for the genre that Max Martin's pop hits from the late 90s - early 00s fall into? (You've probably heard them, even if you haven't heard of him.)

I'm referring to songs like "Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears and "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. These seem to be cut from the same fabric - pop songs that don't move too fast, involve emotive vocals, and so forth - but "pop" doesn't seem to be sufficiently descriptive. Is there a term for this specific type of song? I specify Max Martin because he seems to be the author behind many of these songs.
posted by LSK to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
teen pop?
posted by amyms at 5:28 PM on February 6, 2011

posted by MexicanYenta at 6:00 PM on February 6, 2011

From Wikipedia: Bubblegum music "The chief characteristics of the genre are that it is pop music contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, is produced in an assembly-line process, driven by producers, often using unknown singers and has an upbeat sound.[1] The songs typically have singalong choruses, seemingly childlike themes and a contrived innocence, occasionally combined with an undercurrent of sexual double entendre.[3] Bubblegum songs are also defined as having a catchy melody, simple chords, simple harmonies, dancy (but not necessarily danceable) beats, repetitive riffs or "hooks", use of solfege syllables and a vocally-multiplied refrain."
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:06 PM on February 6, 2011

Furthering MexicanYenta's characterization, you could read some of these songs into a free program like Audiology, and look at the proportions, and take them apart into their blocks of repeated sections. You'll see that most of those songs follow a few patterns, and a few timings, for the most part. Maybe there's two or three templates. And they really are to the second, take total song length, divide by two, see what you find in the middle.

Soon you'll be able to just slide the slider on any one of those songs and know pretty much what you'll find there.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:56 PM on February 6, 2011

I'm not sure you really need to be more specific than "pop/rock ballad".

Perhaps helpful is the Music Genome for Baby One More Time (which lists the N'Sync single as a similar song)?

Ballads are pretty much the type of music that the boy bands all concentrated on, but Britney goes well into dance-pop arena as well. The stuff he's done for Katy Perry doesn't come across as very ballad-like -- I guess I'd call that stuff "pop anthem". So he isn't limited to this genre either. But the ones you're asking about -- I bet he calls those ballads, around the office.
posted by dhartung at 9:00 PM on February 6, 2011

Best answer: Baby One More Time isn't bubblegum, or any kind of ballad. Martin wrote ballads but as much of his output were these robotic, upbeat funky pop tunes.

The standout of Max Martin at his peak was the heavy, rhythmic slap basslines. I'd call his best music pop-funk but really he set the trend, you could call it Max Martin music.
posted by fire&wings at 2:04 AM on February 7, 2011

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